Domestic Violence and Non-Citizens’ Rights
These are troubling times for immigrants living in the United States. While extreme hostility towards immigrants has become the norm in political speech and policy in recent years, non-U.S. citizens still have many rights. And one of these rights includes being able to not only leave an abusive relationship, but to pursue financial damages in civil court as well. As a non-U.S. citizen, if you are a victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to contact a San Jose domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.
Increased ICE Presence in Family Court Leads to Fear of Speaking Out Against Domestic Violence
Since President Trump took office at the beginning of 2017, the increased presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at civil and criminal court has caused immigrants to stop appearing in court as well as reporting a crime, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). One of the most affected areas of law has been family court, which is drastically decreasing the chances for domestic violence victims of finding relief and compensation for their tremendous damages. A survey of law enforcement officers, judges, and prosecutors found a striking difference between 2016 and 2017, as described below.
Percentage of police officers who participated in the survey who agreed with the following:
- There has been a negative impact on the ability of police officers to protect crime survivors (67 percent agreed).
- Domestic violence is harder to investigate because immigrant crime survivors are afraid to get assistance (50 percent agreed).
- Immigrants were less likely to participate in an investigation (22 percent agreed); and
- Immigrants crime survivors were less likely to be willing to make police reports (21 percent agreed).
Additionally, 54 percent of judges agreed that court cases were interrupted because of an immigrant crime survivor’s fear of coming to court.
Additional Obstacles to Overcome for Undocumented Immigrants, Victimized by Domestic Violence
Undocumented immigrants are twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence than U.S. citizens, according to the Los Angeles Times, and due to California’s laws mandating that physicians report signs of domestic abuse to law enforcement agencies, many undocumented immigrants who have been beaten or abused do not seek medical attention. This can lead to an even more complicated case for proving domestic violence, since there may not be a paperwork history of abuse.
A San Jose Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
Your situation may seem hopeless, but an attorney can provide assistance. No matter the circumstances surrounding your case, we encourage you to contact the dedicated San Jose domestic violence attorneys at the office of Gemma V. Reyes today to discuss your potential options. Whether you are a citizen or an undocumented immigrant, you have rights to put the abuse to an end with a restraining order, and more.